Transitioning to a no meat athlete
Our latest guest blog is written by JP an
aspiring vegan athlete who is a brown belt
training at Elements BJJ in Brighton.
I say I athlete…. at 46 married with four kids and working in IT, I’m like everyone else addicted to this aggressive hugging.
So here’s some context… I just got my brown belt. It’s taken just over seven and a half years.
In that time I’ve tried to ensure that I train a minimum of three times a week for approximately two hours each session. That can vary, sometimes it’ll be a little less, other times more. The intensity also varies but I’ve always like to roll competitively too. By that I mean yeah I can do the flow roll thing or spar at lower than 100% but I enjoy rolling when it feels like you’re both going for it and you’re being pushed.
In addition for the last four plus years I’ve added strength training and cardio work on the days I can’t get onto the mats.
Thing is, at my cranky old age if I don’t rest/refuel/recover correctly then my body lets me know which in turn dials my crankiness up to an extreme level.
I want to be on the mats as much as possible so I have to EAT.
Now I always wanted to switch to a vegetarian diet as to me deep down it seems the right thing to do. Burgers, dirty chicken and a lack of will power have continually perpetuated an internal conflict…. but there comes a time.
I didn’t mention it because I wanted to avoid that “how do you know if someone is a vegan” cliché, but I pretty much follow a vegan diet. Don’t worry the righteousness isn’t about to explode from your screen. It’s because my wife has a dairy allergy. So seeing as we don’t eat meat, she can’t have milk stuff and we like to eat together that means? yeah vegan….. -ish ?
First thing everyone says is “how do you get protein?”. Well actually the first thing everyone ever says is “I love bacon too much”.
Anyway the question of fuelling correctly if you change your diet is a good one. Luckily transitioning from a meat to non-meat diet has been done before so there are literally tons of good sources out there. In my case it was mostly handled by my amazing wife who happens to be a Personal Trainer. She has an unquenchable addiction to purchasing recipe books and a ridiculously low boredom threshold. This means that our evening meal options are varied and to be honest that’s key when changing to a non-meat diet. You have to be prepared to try a completely new approach especially as for most people meat is the centrepiece of a meal.
A typical day looks a bit like this:
Breakfast: Black coffee. Porridge: Oats, almond milk, banana, peanut butter, maybe some maple syrup.
Lunch: If I’m at home then avocado on sourdough toast. Maybe with marmite…. or mushrooms… or both. If I’m not at home then something totally crap from a shop or vending machine.
I’m so lazy
If I said things like salad or grains then I wouldn’t sell it well. Mainly because with those things you have to re-think what you think a salad is. Same with how you use grains. So instead of that, how about noodles? Everyone loves noodles right?
This is from Anna Jones “A modern way to eat”
Bunch of purple sprouting broccoli
200g Soba noodles
Shredded red cabbage (not loads… half a small one… probably)
Brown rice vinegar
200g Smoked tofu
Juice of 1 lemon
toasted sesame seeds
handful of roughly chopped coriander
Get a pan with some water and heat that sucker up. Then drop in the broccoli. DON’T boil it until it’s limp, instead just simmer it for a couple of minutes.
Fish out the broccoli, then chuck in the noodles. They’ll probably have some cooking instructions on the packet. Once cooked, drain and run cold water over them.
Now chuck the cabbage in a bowl with a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of rice vinegar and the same of maple syrup. Mix that shit up.
Heat up a splash of oil in a frying pan. When it’s hot as hell, add that tasty tofu and sizzle it until each side is crisp as fuck. Add some sesame seeds, stir it up so the seeds stick to the tofu. Then take the tofu out.
Bit more oil, bit of heat and throw in the spring onions. When softened add a tablespoon of rice vinegar and a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup as well as some sesame oil, soy sauce and lemon juice. Cook it for a bit and it’ll get nice and thick.
Throw the noodles back in and stir it up so they’re covered in that thick ooziness. Dish that up. Add the cabbage, tofu and broccoli…. wait we’re not finished. Top with a sprinkle to toasted sesame seeds and chopped coriander.
Yeah that’s DAMN tasty.
I do get asked if there any benefits……Apart from the sanctimonious stuff you mean? yeah I definitely feel like my weight doesn’t fluctuate as much. Previously I would vary between 77kg-82kg. Now I am pretty much static at 77/78kg.
My energy levels feel more consistent too. I think that’s because previously I would eat less carbs but more protein, whereas now I eat LOADS of carbs
So what’s the secret?
There isn’t one…. IT’S EXACTLY THE SAME. Yeah you read that right. Just because I’ve changed what I eat, the same rules apply. Eat well and eat often.
I still eat crap occasionally, which I should cut out as I prefer competing at lightweight, but when I wander into the kitchen and see packets of crisps…. I mean who knew that if you slice up vegan cheese, put it in a wrap, then put the wrap in the toaster you can make the laziest dirty vegan grilled cheese style thing ever?
Oh and vegan salad cream on crackers is a thing.
A tasty evil thing.
Maybe I’m just trying to relive my “eat any old shit” days as a singleton but without death. Who knows? Who cares? BTW I really like this article: https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/there-is-nothing-pretentious-about-being-a-vegan-723
See you on the mats